Hello! I’m Tracey, a British novelist focusing on trip fiction and the search for home. Why? Because I struggled to stay put in England during my youth. I blame my father’s passion for cars and driving. This meant I’d seen the whole of Europe over the top of my mother’s beehive hairdo by the time I blew out my sixteenth birthday candles. At least it helped with the geography ‘O’ Level.
I became a professional horse rider, a great way to travel the world if you don’t mind backbreaking work, early hours and physical risk. Stints in France and all over the USA followed, hence the adage, ‘have pitchfork, will travel’. But what was intended to be a short interlude from British life, more a lark than a well-planned life decision, turned into something else: an expat life. Home became everywhere and nowhere. Even though I spent most of my adult life living all over the USA – marrying an American there, raising children there, becoming a speech-language pathologist there, travelling the world from there – I just couldn’t shake a constant niggle my roots needing replanting firmly and deeply in England. Yep. Hiraeth knocketh at the door. What to do? What to do?
Return home after thirty years away during a pandemic, of course! Brilliant idea! When we sold our US house in early 2020, no one imagined our repatriation would get mired in closed visa offices, closed real estate markets, closed pet transport companies, and … well, you name it, if we needed it to move back to England it was closed. One hundred and thirty-nine days. That’s how long my husband remained trapped in a US hotel after I left through empty airports on an empty flight to search for somewhere to live in England. We were finally reunited in October, now living in the beautiful Exmoor National Park. Then, lockdown after lockdown. It’s been an interesting time to attempt a new life as a repat.
Does my English home still exist after thirty years? Only one way to find out …
Join me at www.traceygemmell.com or on twitter, Facebook, IG, and LinkedIn